The Evidence Portal

Mentor supervision and support

Flexible activity

Mentors should be provided with opportunities to reflect on their performance and the progress of their mentee. They should regularly check-in with a supervisor to:

  • Ensure program expectations are met
  • Discuss activities conducted and next steps
  • Raise concerns and problems
  • Troubleshoot issues
  • Receive feedback on performance and progress

Mentors are required to check with program counsellors each week to report on their mentoring activities. 

Supervision can be provided by an experienced mentor or professional.

Further, it is important to ensure that mentors have the necessary skills and, at times, the resilience to stay the course. Mentoring is rarely a linear process, with setbacks and relationship breakdowns common. A mentor needs support to rebuild the relationship where it breaks down and to deal with the complex challenges faced by at-risk youth.

How can it be implemented?

Most programs consist of established procedures for supervising and monitoring mentor-mentee relationships. The period between check-ins can range from quarterly or weekly. Supervision can be conducted on a one-to-one basis or in a group.

Group supervision

  • Can occur in weekly to monthly meetings
  • Can be conducted with a program coordinator or with other mentors
  • Can be embedded into existing activities with mentees. For example, in a group setting with multiple mentor-mentee pairs, mentors can support and supervise each other). 

Individual supervision

  • Typically conducted in weekly meetings with a supervisor

Note: A combination of group and individual supervision can be conducted as needed.

Review recordings of meetings with youth

  • Recordings of session with youth can be conducted. These recordings can be used by program managers to assess the mentor’s techniques.

At least 6 sessions between a mentor and mentee should be recorded.

What should I consider when working with Aboriginal people and communities?

As above, when working with Aboriginal young people, training should be supplemented by regular debriefing sessions where mentors are encouraged to explore and articulate experiences with mentees. This opportunity to debrief should be an integral and ongoing part of the program (O’Shea 2013).

Who is the target group?

Programs that provide mentor supervision and reflection have been implemented with the following target groups:

  • young people at risk of deliquency and substance abuse
  • young people transitioning out of foster care
  • young non-violent offenders

What programs conduct this activity?

  • Campus Corps incorporates supervision and support into its ‘multi-level community’. Each mentor-mentee pair is part of a Mentor Family, i.e. a group of 4 mentor-mentee pairs. This provides mentors with in-the-moment support and live supervision from mentors in their ‘family’. In addition, Mentor Coaches and family therapists’ instructions provide additional supervision. 
  • In TAKE CHARGE, mentors videotape at least 6 meetings with youth that can then be evaluated for their utilization of key self-determination facilitation techniques. Specifically, the focus is on mentors highlighting at least one youth accomplishment or strength; naming and discussing the application of a target skill; supporting the youth to carry out elements of an activity; and identifying next steps for youth and mentor.
  • In the Reading for Life program all mentors attend monthly meetings for ongoing training.

Further resources

Last updated:

25 Nov 2022

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

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